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NT Survey - 10 - Colossians

Colossians is another one of the Prison Epistles, meaning Paul wrote it from prison. The church was not founded by Paul himself, but seemingly through the preaching of Epaphras (1:7). Paul states that Epaphras was a fellow servant who told Paul about the Colossians' love in the Spirit.

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
Colossians 1:9 (NIV)

Logo - Colossians

Paul's concern for the Colossians was that they would grow in the knowledge of God's will. His letter was written to deal with the heresy that was being spread within the church at Colossae. False teachers were denying the fact that Jesus was God. Paul was writing to explain the importance of understanding Jesus Christ was Creator and Redeemer. He was determined that they would know God in His greatness and glory!

Paul stressed to the believers that salvation is only in Jesus Christ. It was important to correctly understand the person of Jesus Christ. It was important to understand the deity and divinity of Jesus Christ. Only then would Christ's death on the cross to put an end to the civil and ceremonial laws of Judaism make sense. Christ was the sacrifice for our salvation.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. ...  For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,
Colossians 1:15, 19 (NIV)

Outline

    1. Introductory Matters 1:1-8
    2. A Prayer Concerning God's Will 1:9-14
    3. Christ, The Preeminent One 1:15-23
    4. Christ, The Hope of Glory 1:24-29
    5. Walking in Christ 2:1-7
    6. Fullness in Christ 2:8-15
    7. Christ versus Religion 2:16-23
    8. Christ Our Life, Our All in All 3:1-11
    9. Living Together in Christ 3:12-17
    10. Christ at Home and at Work 3:18-4:1
    11. Three Basic Ministries in Christ 4:2-9
    12. Concluding Matters 4:10-18

Paul's prayer for the Colossian church (along with all the other churches in Asia Minor) was that they would know that Jesus Christ was divine, and that they would live a life worthy of the Lord. A life lived this way will bear fruit as the person grows in the knowledge of God.

And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
Colossians 1:10 (NIV)

Paul stresses the work of Christ in rescuing believers from the dominion of darkness. He writes in contrast to the darkness from which we have been rescued, that Jesus has given us redemption and forgiveness.

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:13-14 (NIV)

Paul sets forth his theology on the identity of Christ is in the next few verses. Jesus Christ is the Creator of everything! It was by His power that all things were created. Therefore, Christ is supreme!

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
Colossians 1:16-18 (NIV)

Paul acknowledged the responsibility that God had given him. He was to reveal and explain the riches and glory of Christ, who lives in us.

God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you.  This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God's people.  For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.
Colossians 1:25-27 (NLT)

The treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ. Paul's purpose was to explain this to believers so that they would understand that they have the full riches of God and would know the mystery of God.

 My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,  in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Colossians 2:2-3 (NIV) 

Accept Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to follow Him, letting your roots grow down and your lives be built on Him. This is how a person's faith grows strong. Human thinking is just empty philosophy and high-sounding nonsense that comes from the powers of this world, not from Jesus Christ.

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.  Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.  Don't let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.  For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.  So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.
Colossians 2:6-10 (NLT)

Through our belief in Jesus as the Christ, the anointed One from God, Paul says we have been raised with Christ. It is now our responsibility to set our hearts and minds on things above. Christ is seated at the right hand of God and our life is now hidden with Christ.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:1-3 (NIV)

In Christ, there is no distinction between Jew and Greek (non-Jew). All people are God's chosen people and as such, we are instructed to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility gentleness and patience.

Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 3:11-13 (NIV)

We are members of one body -- the body of Christ. We are instructed to forgive as He forgave. This is the key to letting the word of Christ dwell in us. We are instructed to teach and admonish, exhort and encourage one another, all in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:15-17 (NIV)

As always, Paul's message was one to the church universal, all believers, not just the specific body of believers who met in a local assembly. Although the letter was written to the church at Colossae, he instructs them to share the letter with other churches, and to read the letters that he wrote to other churches. By doing this, Paul accentuates and emphasizes his explanation that all believers that belong to one body -- the body of Christ!

After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.
Colossians 4:16 (NIV)

 

 

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